This Floating Life Between

By Alison January 14, 2016 3 Comments 2 Min Read

I am between two houses. Caught between two worlds. For as we remove all traces of personality from Chez Brocante, in order to appease buyers who struggle to visualise living anywhere other than inside a magnolia box, we find ourselves retreating more and more to Dad’s bungalow, revelling in the space, and marvelling at how easy it is to keep clean in comparison to our dusty old Victorian cottage.
But the vintage interiors fiend living inside me cannot quite come to terms with the existing decoration in this very modern bungalow. Can’t forgive the green bedroom carpet laid throughout the entire house, nor quite adapt to the size of the teeny bathroom after one I could swing several cats in.
As I scurry around the bungalow, mopping this and vacuuming that, in my head I am re-decorating. Laying  wooden floors throughout the main living space and hanging my own pictures on the living room walls. Banishing the flock wallpaper in the hallway and fitting floating shelves on to the blank wall of the white kitchen to pile with stacks of white china and sparkling glassware.
Imagining myself living elsewhere.
For that is what this is about. Practicing being away from home. Making a transition that doesn’t shake Finley and I to the core. Letting go.
This then is an affair. The test of a failing marriage: to see if I can transfer my heart to pastures new. It is a dalliance that has astonished me in the degree to which it has revealed how very stale my once instinctive interior design dreams had become. How stifled they had been by lack of space, and the hushing of an imagination that once ran riot.
Today I am writing to you curled up in the conservatory. It is a dark day, and I have got a floor length lamp switched on, suffusing this glass room in a golden yellow light. On the far wall is a self-portrait of my Grandad, wearing a trilby and painted in oils.  I am sitting on a Knole sofa, watching birds hurry between bare trees and imagining the garden filled with pots full of lavender in the Spring and I am thinking that I could be happy here. That I do not feel suffocate. That I love it that there are so many bare walls just begging for shelves and a huge garage in which everything I own could be organized. I love the possibility of it. Of this, or another house just like it.
I am ready to move house, Readers. Ready to stack my books in boxes and turn what has been a beloved home in to a magnolia box ripe for someone else’s dreams.


  1. jeanette says:

    I loved this. It is what I am feeling exactly at this moment. Just throw in more children, including a 6 day old newborn!
    In 3 – 4 weeks time I too will be moving. From our tiny renter’s cottage that our family of 8 can barely squeeze into, to a rambling southern farmhouse. We are counting down the days until we can breathe properly again. To have the freedom of not bumping into each other. Being such a large family, we also have alot of stuff. Furniture and items that we just couldn’t part with, handed down to us from past generations. They will all now have a proper place. Room for my children to roam, since the place use to be a proper farm. So I feel all your thoughts, Allison. The need to be creative in your new decorating scheme. I am right there with you, paintbrush in hand!

    1. Alison May says:

      Congratulations on your new little one, Jeanette! What a busy season in your life. Try to take it as easy as you can while in the midst of your move. Your new home sounds heavenly,and I hope your family are very happy there!

  2. Superorganiser says:

    It all sounds very exciting Alison. Perhaps you could do a house swap with your Dad. I’m sure that your Dad’s house holds memories for you as well.

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